Despite the classification of ride-hail drivers as “essential workers” during the early days of the pandemic, last April Uber’s business dropped by 80%. Drivers decided they’d rather not risk contracting or spreading COVID-19 for the measly revenue provided by the few rides per day they were getting, so when the federal CARES Act extended the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to gig workers, many Uber drivers decided to hang up their keys.

With more than a quarter of the U.S. population already vaccinated, Uber is now in a sticky situation wherein there are more riders requesting trips than there are drivers available. The ride-hailing giant not only wants drivers to know that there’s business to be had once again, but they also want to sweeten the deal with incentives.

On Wednesday, the company announced the launch of a $250 million driver stimulus to welcome drivers back into the fold and recruit new ones as the pandemic begins to ease in the U.S. Both returning drivers and new drivers will be receiving bonuses over the coming months, according to an Uber spokesperson.

“In 2020, many drivers stopped driving because they couldn’t count on getting enough trips to make it worth their time,” reads the blog post announcing the stimulus. “In 2021, there are more riders requesting trips than there are drivers available to give them — making it a great time to be a driver.”

Due to high rider demand and low supply of drivers, the current median hourly rate for cities like Philadelphia, Austin, Chicago, Miami and Phoenix is $26.66, which is 25% to 75% higher than they were in March of last year. Uber wants drivers to take advantage of the higher earnings now because “this is likely a temporary situation.” Meaning as the country recovers and more gig workers get back behind the wheel, earnings will likely decrease from their current levels.

The upgrade cash will go on top of those hourly rates, a representative told TechCrunch. The motivator design will be founded on singular action, just as area. For instance, in Austin, flow drivers are ensured $1,100 in the event that they complete 115 excursions. In Phoenix, they can procure an extra $1,775 for 200 outings.

“We will have more ensures coming in both those urban areas just as the wide range of various business sectors we are focusing in the U.S. – the dollar and outing sums may simply change somewhat relying upon nearby factors,” said the representative.

The cash will likewise go toward ensured least compensation and on-boarding for new Uber drivers, and the full $250 million pool is coming straightforwardly from Uber’s pockets. The organization’s offers declined as much as 3.6% during exchanging on Wednesday.

Uber is additionally meaning to help smooth out the way toward getting drivers immunized with an in-application booking gateway as a feature of its association with Walgreens.

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